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Harry Potter author JK Rowling has spoken out at the One Young World conference, arguing that children living in orphanages in poor countries may be being treated with great cruelty and by volunteering in such orphanages, young people may be unintentionally supporting this practice. Rowling also expressed concern that many orphans in developing countries are separated from their parents because of extreme hardship rather than death. She encourages young people not to turn their backs completely on orphanages, but rather to “look at what drives children into institutions.” Lumos, Rowling’s own charity, was set up to tackle neglect in orphanages across Eastern Europe. Rowling is also discouraging tourists from visiting orphanages while on holiday. ‘Volun-tourism’, where young people volunteer as part of their travels, is particularly concerning to Rowling: “Often these young people will come away believing they did good, and are appalled when the facts are laid out in front of them, and they realise that they may have contributed to the perpetuation of abuse.”

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